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August 2011

Counterintuitive Value of Mergers

By Kevin Meyer Conventional thinking has it that when two similar organizations merge the sum is more efficient than the parts.  That's the thought behind mergers of companies, government entities, and the like.  But is it really true?  Perhaps not – at least on the government side of things – and that can give us some lessons for the mergers of other types of organizations. Governors and lawmakers across the …
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Kill Rats – Not Messengers

by BILL WADDELL For $50 a month you can monitor what the social media is saying about you, your company and your product.  For nuthin' a month you can not worry about it.  More and more stories are popping up about the need to "beat down" social media, and keep it from doing "irreparable harm".  It is a sad reflection of the times.  Nothing said about confronting the truth, as …
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Errol Flynn – Eat Your Heart Out

by BILL WADDELL I just came across this exciting video on Lean Accounting. Unknown to me, it's been out on YouTube for half a year or so.  If this riveting, keep-you-on-the-egde-of-your-seat bit of cinematography doesn't convince your execs to pursue Lean Accounting nothing will …    

Jeff – You Ain’t No Charlie Wilson

by BILL WADDELL Just about everyone has heard one version or another of GM President Charlie Wilson's response in the Senate hearings to confirm his nomination as Secretary of Defense. Senator Robert Hendrickson asked whether Wilson could make a decision that would harm GM if such a situation arose.  Wilson answered, "I cannot conceive of one, because for years I thought what was good for our country was good for General …
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Non-Manufacturing in America – Kindle, iPhone, and Software

By Kevin Meyer This past week has seen a trio of articles explicitly lay out the crisis, misperception, and opportunity of manufacturing in America.  Two great articles by Steve Denning sandwiching a piece by software venture capitalist Marc Andreesen.  If you get a chance I'd suggest you read them in this order, but I'll do my best to summarize below. Why Amazon Can't Make a Kindle in the USA (Steve …
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The Old GM is the New GM is the Old GM

By Kevin Meyer Forget for a moment all the financial convolutions the GM bailout foisted upon the taxpayers, and the accounting machinations they're going through to show a profit.  Forget that they are in effect using U.S. taxpayer dollars to invest in China – although perhaps that's a more direct route than interest on the growing U.S. debt in effect being an investment in China. Companies succeed when they focus …
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The Value of Profiting from Poverty

By Kevin Meyer I know that title alone is going to get a bunch of folks tied up in their undies but a story on CNN over the weekend made me think a bit.  And perhaps we do need to think a bit instead of accepting commonly-held perspectives.  Let's start with some brief background. It started with such a simple concept: A solar light bulb that charges up during the …
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Chopsticks and iPhones

By Kevin Meyer Cheap, low margin, low tech.  Made in America, exported to China.  It can be done, even with a product that has comparatively zero demand in America. Enter Georgia Chopsticks. Jae Lee, a former scrap-metal exporter, saw an opportunity and began turning out chopsticks for the Chinese market late last year. He and his co-owner, David Hughes, make their chopsticks from poplar and sweet-gum trees, which have the …
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The Fed – Dishonest or Dumb? You Decide

by BILL WADDELL The United States woke up to a report from the San Francisco Fed picked up by just about every business news outlet announcing that the "Goods and services from China accounted for only 2.7% of U.S. personal consumption expenditures in 2010, of which less than half reflected the actual costs of Chinese imports."  Only 1.2% of your spending was for stuff from China, say the well-paid wizards. …
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The Economics of Lead Times

by BILL WADDELL Retail executives from sea to shining sea are not sleeping as well as they used to as we hurtle headlong toward September.  In any other year their purchase orders would be placed, Chinese factories would be humming and the container ships would be lining up at Hong Kong, Chiwan and Shanghai.  The retail execs would be working on the details of their ad campaigns as they head into …
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